Ways to strengthen your immune system during a pandemic

Since the vaccine for COVID-19 is still on the works, the World Health Organization has advised the public that proper handwashing and hygiene practices, as well as social distancing, remains to be the best defense against the virus. Experts also agree that a strong immune system can keep you healthy and give you a sense of control in an uncertain time.  

Eat right and keep a balanced diet  

One of the most effective ways of keeping a healthy immune system is eating right. Begin by filling your plate with immune-boosting fruits and vegetables such as carrots, kale, oranges, strawberries, and broccoli. Eggs, milk, nuts, and mushrooms can also provide necessary vitamins and nutrients to keep your immunity up during a pandemic.  

Get active and exercise  

Physical activity can give your immune system a great boost in a myriad of ways. Researchers have shown that exercise improves immune systems. Exercising regularly improves your body’s natural production of antibodies that help in fighting viruses and infection.  

Relax and try meditation  

Living through a pandemic is a very stressful circumstance that it can negatively affect the immune system and take a toll on a person’s mental health. A recent study involving more than 1,600 people has suggested that meditation boosts their immune system. Meditation can be as simple as taking time in the morning or at night, relaxing, and breathing properly and emptying your mind.  

Stress and anxiety management  

Numerous studies have linked stress and the immune system. In fact, a study has proven that psychological stress increases susceptibility to illness. According to health experts, prolonged or chronic stress can negatively impact the immune system as it reduces the body’s natural ability to fight viruses and bacteria. Moreover, people under a lot of stress are more likely to develop poor coping strategies such as excessive alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, poor diet, or lack of sleep which also negatively impact the immune system. 

How LEED Certification can help Prevent Disease Spread in the Future

The current pandemic has brought a 180-degree change in the way people live and work. Some of these changes may be temporary, but some might be permanent adjustments that will help in preventing another outbreak or at least improve the community’s preparation for one.   

Due to COVID-19, buildings will give more emphasis to the health and wellness of their tenants. While other offices will only start implementing such changes to adapt, commercial establishments that were already certified by programs such as LEED have long been uplifting the quality of the work environment and promoting the health and well-being of their tenants—amid a pandemic or not. 

Here are some ways LEED certification can help prevent diseases in the future:  

LEED-certified buildings, like JEG Tower, were designed, constructed, and operates to high standards that prioritize the health of its tenants. Green buildings regulate water quality, air quality, and antibacterial functions to promote their occupants’ health and reduce the risks of getting diseases and viruses.   

RELATED: How Green Buildings improve indoor air quality, provide healthier working environment  

The LEED certification also ensures these buildings have increased ventilation which also improves the health and wellbeing of the tenants and drastically improves their work performance.  

In addition to providing the basic functions, LEED-certified buildings also reduce the risk of infection and prevent cross-infection inside the workplace. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) requires establishments to include measures that will control the collusion of air and pollutants, exhaust backflow of bathrooms, Green buildings are designed to set up effective water seals to reduce the risk of virus transmission through drainage pipes. Under the LEED certification, buildings should optimize the space and plane layout to enhance the effectiveness of natural ventilation. They should also be able to regulate and control air conditioning systems by zones and have a well-designed site wind environment for the dissipation of viruses and harmful gases. 

Moreover, LEED ensures that the cleanliness of the environment is greatly prioritized. Strengthened cleaning policies are followed using sustainable and safe cleaning products. Proper waste management is also observed, which plays a big role in disease prevention.  

Following the ‘People’ aspect of the triple bottom line of LEED, (People, Planet, Profit), certified buildings ensure that they are safe and healthy environment for their occupants.  

The vaccine against the new coronavirus is yet to be developed, which means the best protection one can have against it depends on the body’s immunity and the community’s cleanliness. 

RELATED: Promoting Health and Well-being in the Workplace  

Promoting physical activity among building tenants while creating a safe and welcoming environment is the top priority of LEED-certified green buildings. These goals help in ensuring that building occupants are healthy year-round, not just during a global pandemic.  

The current COVID-19 outbreak is reemphasizing the importance of prioritizing one’s health and proper hygiene. It also reminds how easily diseases can spread in the workplace. Office buildings can either help in its prevention or aid its spread and proliferation. Building certification programs such as LEED recognize the importance of certain aspects of building design and maintenance that play an important role in disease spread and prevention of outbreaks in the future. 

Taking care of your mental health: Why it matters in time of a pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak may be stressful for some people. As the world continuously witness the world change, fear and anxiety can affect their mental health and take a toll on their general well-being.  

According to studies, stress and anxiety can greatly affect one’s health and well-being. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported many manifestations of stress amid the pandemic including difficulty of sleeping, changes in sleeping or eating patterns, worsening of chronic health and mental health problems, and increased use of alcohol and tobacco. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is common to experience stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, and loneliness during this difficult time. However, it is important to manage it by learning different strategies and coping mechanisms.   

Taking care of your mental health will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. Here are some ways and strategies that can be helpful to practice during the outbreak:  

Take sanity breaks  

The news from the media and social networking site feeds can be overwhelming and stressful. Practice taking mini breaks from watching, reading, or listening to the news, especially if it is about the statistics of the virus. Being informed about relevant information is always helpful but getting anxiety from too much exposure to crisis-related news can also increase stress levels.   

It is advisable to limit your time scrolling on your social media accounts. Aside from mental stress, excessive use of phones and tablets can also cause eye strain and body aches.  

Take care of your mind by limiting your screen time. It is also a good practice to turn off any electronic device for some time each day including 30 minutes before projected bedtime.  

Stick to Routines 

Changes may be stressful for your mind. Experts suggest developing and maintaining a regular schedule is very beneficial for mental health. Stick to routines such as regular bedtimes, consistent times for meals, bathing and getting dressed, preparing for work or studying, and exercising. The predictability can make you feel more in control and would ease the brain.  

Stay busy 

Use this time to enjoy hobbies that you can do home, learn a new skill or two, develop healthy habits, and start a project that you have been planning to do. Staying busy can be a healthy distraction from negative thoughts. This can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.  

Focus on positive thoughts  

Focusing on the positive side of things is a healthy way of coping with stress and anxiety. While this can be hard for some, doing little things such as listing the things you are thankful for daily can mean a lot to your mental health. Instead of dwelling on how bad things are going, focus on the things you can control and keep problems in perspective.  

Connect with others  

Now more than ever, the need for connection is very important. Since everybody is away from each other due to social distancing and the community quarantine, hone virtual connections by video chats, phone calls, text messaging, and other similar apps. If you are working remotely from home, ask your co-workers how they are doing and talk about things outside of work.  

It would be also helpful for your mental health to voice out your concerns and how are you feeling with people you trust.